RESIDENTS of Kendal are being asked for their opinions on the introduction of an ‘innovative’ car parking scheme which received financial backing on BBC show Dragons’ Den.

The ParkingPerx system would see the town’s businesses offer a small contribution to customers’ parking each time they spend a certain amount of money in store.

Brian Harrison, chairman of Kendal Business Improvement District (BID), which is considering subsidising the scheme to get it off the ground, said: “What’s great about this system is that people can show their loyalty to all businesses (if they choose to participate) in the town and get rewarded by reduced or free parking.”

Sarah Williams, manager of Kendal BID, said individual businesses would be able to set the value of the parking rewards they offered in their stores.

It is hoped ParkingPerx would encourage people to shop and spend more at participating stores and cafés.

“Parking has been the number-one-named issue for eternity. That and our one-way system,” said Mrs Williams

“We have got this issue where people perceive - rightly or wrongly - that parking in Kendal is expensive and this is a barrier to them coming into Kendal to shop.”

Her personal opinion was that any provision of free parking by the council and other organisations could result in visitors parking in Kendal and taking public transport into the Lake District.

“When they did free parking in Hexham, everybody parked in Hexham and got on the train to Newcastle,” she said.

The ParkingPerx scheme featured on the popular BBC television show Dragons’ Den last year, when Newcastle entrepreneur Chris Reed pitched his idea to a panel of businessmen and women, eventually securing £80,000 in backing from YourCash Europe-founder Jenny Campbell.

Mrs Williams stressed this was nothing more than an idea at the moment, and called on residents and businesses in Kendal to get in touch via with their opinions about the scheme. The next BID board meeting is on August 4.

A spokesman for South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) said: “Working with partners, SLDC is continually monitoring and reviewing how we can best deliver parking provision in all our communities, as well as developing town centres which are attractive and accessible for living, working, culture and leisure. We welcome community involvement and engagement and will always give due consideration to potentially beneficial ideas and suggestions.”